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BMJ Open. 2012 Aug 30;2(4). pii: e001328. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001328. Print 2012.

Registration in a quality register: a method to improve end-of-life care--a cross-sectional study.

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1
Department of Radiation Sciences, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Structured methods to assess and support improvement in the quality of end-of-life care are lacking and need to be developed. This need is particularly high outside the specialised palliative care. This study examines whether participation in a national quality register increased the quality of end-of-life care.

DESIGN:

This study is a cross-sectional longitudinal register study.

SETTING:

The Swedish Register of Palliative Care (SRPC) collects data about end-of-life care for deaths in all types of healthcare units all over Sweden. Data from all 503 healthcare units that had reported patients continuously to the register during a 3-year period were analysed.

PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES:

Data on provided care during the last weeks of life were compared year-by-year with logistic regression.

PARTICIPANTS:

The study included a total 30 283 patients. The gender distribution was 54% women and 46% men. A total of 60% of patients in the study had a cancer diagnosis.

RESULTS:

Provided end-of-life care improved in a number of ways. The prevalence of six examined symptoms decreased. The prescription of 'as needed' medications for pain, nausea, anxiety and death rattle increased. A higher proportion of patients died in their place of preference. The patient's next of kin was more often offered a follow-up appointment after the patient's death. No changes were seen with respect to providing information to the patient or next of kin.

CONCLUSIONS:

Participation in a national quality register covariates with quality improvements in end-of-life care over time.

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